Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Ode to Tanya

Tanya is the best, and here are ten reasons why.

1) She is a vegetarian.
2) She is dedicating her life to international development and activism.
3) She is very good at explaining complex concepts using excellent examples that are very relevant. (She'd make a great teacher!)
4) She has a mean chandrabindu. (Say it dude! "Chand-e Panch Kanthal Khabo" I will eat five jackfruits on the roof!)
5) She has the Bengali gift for hospitality. Example - when we were in India, we organized an impromptu party in our hotel lounge. Not only did she convince the entire wait staff to keep the lounge open for HOURS past closing time, she also bought like 15 huge bottles of beer to get things rolling. AND she somehow got several people to sing, and an elderly man to shake his booty. It was one of the most fun parties I've ever attended!
6) She is SO GOOD at impersonating people. The accuracy makes it hilarious without being mean!
7) She is obsessed with the Lord of the Rings, and she's not ashamed to say it!
8) I think I caught feminism from her. At the very least, being around her fanned the flames of my patriarchy-blaming.
9) She is extremely humble about her radness, which makes it all the more rad.
10) The girl can SING! AND play the guitar.

And, most importantly (I couldn't keep it at ten!)...

11) She is a very sincere friend - one that I am very lucky to have in my life!


Here's to you, girl. Now stop procrastinating and get some work done!

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Everybody! Place your pin!

I just added a nifty little "guest map" on the sidebar. Take a minute to stick your pin in it!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Can this be true?

Is this real? Because, if it is true, why haven't I heard this on the news? And if it isn't true, it's a very cruel rumor.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Katie + Drugs = Witty as Hell

(Yes, I realize that the above title is not appropriate for someone who is the substance abuse prevention coordinator, but get over it!)

So today I had to go to the doctor and show him my wrist wounds. When he walked into the room, he kindof glanced sideways at me and snickered. Odd, I thought. I had been a little worried ever since the surgery because I was not completely knocked out - just under sedation - and I knew I had been talking through the entire procedure, but I can't remember any of it for the life of me! So his sideways glance unnerved me a little!

Then he said, "Well, Katie, I gotta say, that was one of the most entertaining surgeries I've done in a long time!" Oh, man, I must have revealed some secrets or something.

I tentatively asked, "Really? I don't remember any of it! What did we talk about?"

His one word answer made my stomach drop out of my gut. "Politics."

Now, let me just paint a picture for you. This doctor is a manly man. His office walls are covered with dead animals and fish. He went to Africa on a hunting safari. He brought back a stuffed wild boar. Not that I'm one to assume things, but I think I am pretty safe in saying that he's a gun-toter. He's also probably a member of the NRA. And isn't it a pre-requisite of NRA membership that you be a registered Republican?

So I asked him to tell me about our conversation. He was really cracking up! He said that after he took out the tumor on my arm, he was explaining to me that it was a "fatty cyst", nothing to worry about. "In fact," he said, "these are very common. Most Democrats have them in their brains."

To which I replied, oh so smartly, "Well, that's okay. At least Democrats HAVE brains!"

I do remember laughing really hard on the table, and looking around at the doctor and the anesthesiologist as they cracked up. I'm glad they have a sense of humor!

I thank God above that he did not decide to "accidentally" cut my hand off!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

My sister...

...is demented.

Click here for proof.

Friday, January 20, 2006

the power of pain

since i'm one-handed, there will be no capitalization for a while. my surgery went well - i was actually awake the whole time, but i dont remember much. the worst part was the iv! it's a little sore now, but definitely worth the attention i'm getting from my fam.

in lieu of a post, here are some digital doodles...

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Thank God for Thursday.

I'm likin' the comment action, people! I should have invasive medical procedures done more often!

This was a big week, work-wise. I had a long and detailed meeting with my supervisor (which went well), managed to hire someone who will be working under me (how do you say that without sounding like a power trippin' elitist?), personally called the candidates that were not chosen for the job and told them "best of luck" (it was hard), and today I headed up my first big meeting. All in all I think I did pretty good! I really like this job, now that I'm getting the hang of things.

Tomorrow I have to write a mini report (due Friday) for a grant that I just found out about on Monday. That's a little hairy but I've got help so it should be okay.

Tonight Isaac and I made cupcakes in celebration of my success at work. Any excuse for cupcakes is fine with me. He is learning stuff like how to measure 1 1/2 cups of water, how to crack eggs without getting the shell in, and why we have to preheat the oven before we put the cake in. He's also learning that true joy is a warm cupcake with lots of frosting melting down the side. I hope he got his father's metabolism, cuz man I'm setting him up for obesity.

I may need to post photoblogs for the next week or so, because I'm not supposed to type for a week. Like that will happen! Maybe I can get creative.

Thanks to everyone for all of your good vibes! I'll be fine, I'm sure. I've got a nice full bottle of narcotics.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Katie, Katie, Deformed Lady

If you know my husband at all, you probably know that he is very blunt. He will call a spade a spade. He will also call a fat spade a fat spade. He has no concern for certain cultural expectations, especially in the US, that make comments on another person's body shape, size or other attributes taboo. For the first four years of our marriage, I would get really offended when he would comment on the largeness of my belly roll. I tried very hard to explain to him that it "hurt my feelings" (a concept that does not translate well) when he said that. In his point of view, he was telling the truth, so why should he sugar coat it? In my opinion, why does it need to be brought up at all?

I finally got some enlightenment on this issue while in Bangladesh. My nieces were commenting on my "fatty" nature, and I said I felt sad when they called me fatty. They asked why it made me sad. I said, "Well, wouldn't you feel sad if someone said you were ugly?" and they said, "Yes, but calling you fat has nothing to do with how pretty or ugly you are." We then had a conversation about how a person is always pretty or ugly no matter how skinny or fat they get. They even said that fat people are more attractive, nice and soft and round. Ahhh, this is a concept I could latch on to!

Anyways, back to the original point of my post...
Masud has always called me "deformed". He has several points.

1) When I was young, I had a tumor the size of a golf ball on my index finger. It was gross. I had it removed in a painful surgery involving replacing missing bone in my finger with bone marrow from my pelvis when I was eleven. Yowch.
2) In the pictures of me as a young girl, the first thing a viewer will notice is my HUGE front teeth, protruding from my face like a lighthouse beacon. Thanks Gramma for paying for my braces.
3) Speaking of teeth, I have these hereditary white calcium deposits on them, which makes it look like my teeth are really yellow in comparison. The only way to get rid of them is to get expensive veneers, so I choose to say that they give my smile "personality".
4) My fingernails and toenails are tiny, oddly shaped, and paper thin. They never grow past my fingertips without tearing in an excruciating accidental brush with anything harder than a marshmallow.
5) My ears stick out. This is combined with the unfortunate physical reaction I have to nervousness, tiredness, and alcohol - they turn purple.
6) I have this "swirl" of hair at the base of my neck, so that when my hair is cut short, my hairline looks like a mullet gone awry.
7) And speaking of hair, I have more body hair than Masud does. Ahem.
8) I have these gross lumps all over my body. My mom and brother have them, too. Some of them are just "fatty cysts", but I have some special ones called "ganglion" cysts on my wrist (see picture). They have roots, and one of them is rooted in my wrist joint, causing considerable pain. The other one is wound around an artery, causing occasional numbness.

Soooo, this Friday I am going to have them whacked off in an outpatient procedure. I'll be sleeping as much as possible, and waiting very, very long before I get the bandages removed, so there will be no dish washing for me. Yay, ganglion cysts!

I guess a little deformity pays off now and then. (Feminist side note: It's really shitty that in order to get a vaycay from doing dishes I have to undergo surgery.)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Where have I been?

Yikes, it's almost been a week since I posted. I guess I'm finally settling in to my new schedule. I generally like working, gives me something to think about besides myself, but I really miss my extra time. I've got to figure out how to get some of that back. I have not read Amy Tan for a week. A week! The protagonists are stranded at some hotel in Burma, about to be attacked by terrible dysentery, and I left them hanging there.

One of Masud's old buddies came to visit this weekend. He's a smarty - did his MS and PhD at Cornell in something called Biometrics (think hard hard math) and then got a Royal Family Research Fellowship to research at Oxford. He came from the UK to attend a conference in South Dakota, and then flew over to WI to spend the weekend with us. He is one smart dude, but he was really good with Isaac - they got out Isaac's microscope and looked at gross stuff on slides. He showed Isaac how to focus and stuff. Neato.

Nothing much else is new. And I've got to get some work done. So that's all you get for now.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Am I a pedophile?

Daniel Radcliffe is hot. Lookin' forward to the next Harry Potter movie.

Isaac Sez:

Last night, when we were falling asleep - Isaac sandwiched between us - I asked Isaac if he thought any of his buddies slept with their mom and dad. He said, "Probalby not."

"Why do you like to sleep with us?"

"Because, I'm loadin' up!"

"What are you loading up on?"

"Energy and love, for my day tomorrow."

"How do you do that?"

He wriggles in and give me a hug, "Just like that."

The truth is, I feel the same way! And that's why he still sleeps with us.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

I hope God smites Pat Robertson.

Pat Robertson embodies all that I hate about organized religion.

Look what he said this time.


Today I was in my new favorite store, Torrid, which is one of the few fatty stores I've been in that has tolerable fashions. As I was checking out, I mentioned to the clerk that I love the definition of the word torrid. She said, "It means hot." And I said, "No, I believe it means intense emotion." She replied, "I looked it up in the Webster's dictionary. It means HOT." Well, Google and I beg to differ.

Web definitions for torrid
ardent: characterized by intense emotion; "ardent love"; "an ardent lover"; "a burning enthusiasm"; "a fervent desire to change society"; "a fervent admirer"; "fiery oratory"; "an impassioned appeal"; "a torrid love affair"

I am vindicated through this cyber-version of "I told you so."

So there.

Gratuitous Picture of Me in Bangladesh.

Really Deep Thoughts

1. It's Korbani Eid time again - this is the holiday that cows and goats dread - a virtual bloodbath of sacrifices. Last January I spent Korbani Eid in the village. I can't believe it's only been a year!! But the memories live on. Who could forget that dude walking around with four cow legs casually flung over his shoulder? Or the basket of cow skin? Yes, a basket of skin.

2. I'm listening to Barbara Ehrenreich's book "Nickel and Dimed" on CD. Ever since I was a waitress, I've felt that everyone that eats in restaurants should be required to wait tables for one week. Now I have changed my mind, everyone should just be required to read this book. She talks about what it's like to try to live on minimum wage, and the indignities that people who work these jobs must tolerate. Next time you eat out, please give your server a nice big tip. They deserve it even if they forgot your second Diet Coke.

3. This week I had a grand total of four doctor's visits. Advice: Don't let your health problems pile up - it's easier to take care of them as they come along.

4. The snow has completely melted. It's January. What the hell?

5. I found a cool online comic.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Things that make you go...Oh My God!

Today while I was playing a game of "match the numbers to the dots" in Isaac's classroom, two of his classmates were talking about what they want to be when they grow up. One boy proudly told me, "I wanna be in the Army like my Dad so I can kill people!"

I said, "Being in the Army is a great goal, but you don't really want to kill people, do you?"

"Of course I do!" Then he made machine gun noises and pretended to shoot his classmates.

His buddy said, "I already have three guns! I practice shooting at the targets with my dad!" (May I remind you that these are 5-year-old kindergarteners.)

I realize that I have chosen to move back to Marquette County, the self-proclaimed Hunters' Paradise, where deer cause an average of one vehicle accident per day and must be exterminated. While I have not quite made up my mind exactly how hunting fits in with the entire gun control scenario, I am definitely sure that when a five-year-old is talking about killing people, and another has already had the opportunity to shoot a gun, there is something amiss. I had a heated discussion with one of my requisite Republican friends over lunch today about guns and the military and "how we used guns to get rid of Hitler". Maybe guns have their place! But that place is not in the hands of a five-year-old.

I had been freaking out about Isaac's fondness for the toy squirt gun (which is not actually a "gun" because it's shaped like a dolphin, which is why it didn't go in the garbage immediately) that came with his Subway sandwich. He carries that thing around in his pocket, whips it out and uses both hands to aim expertly at the monsters and makes gun-blast noises as he jerks his hands as if he's firing bullets. The problem with forbidding gun-toys is that when anything remotely resembling a gun turns up, it is absolutely irresistible. Suddenly, Legos are expertly fashioned into an "L" shape and held like a pistol. And toy guns are everywhere - he got a "foam disc shooter" in the Christmas exchange at school! What kind of mean mom would take that away from their overjoyed kid?

Now that I see the extent to which guns and killing with guns are discussed in his classroom, I'm rather proud that I've been able to explain to him that guns are dangerous, they were designed as a tool to kill living things - both animals and people - and they are not to be played with. He understands this, and when he plays, he knows he can only shoot the imaginary monsters. He's not even allowed to pretend that he's shooting people. We've talked about the fact that even "bad guys" have mommies and daddies who would be sad if they died, and that's why we have jails to lock them up instead of killing them.

But Jeez, it makes me want to move to a desert island and poke my head in the sand.

Monday, January 02, 2006

My Blog Mission and Reader Inventory

I realize that by nature, blogging is an exhibitionist pastime. Ever since I came back from Bangladesh in June, the purpose of my own blog has changed significantly. It's gone from a means of information and updates for my family and friends to a chronicle of my daily life in boring, small town America. I've often struggled with the idea of anonymity. Most of the great blogs that I read are veiled in secrecy. They refer to their loved ones with clever psuedonyms and do not reveal their own last names or places of work. This ads a sense of mystique to their writing, and makes me want to read more. Sometimes I feel like starting over with a completely new identity. I would then be free to reveal my very personal stories, which would probably make for a better read. I've got scandals, people. Traumas. Agonies. And ecstacies. Wouldn't you love to hear? Alas, they are relegated to my personal journal.

I guess the reason I choose to continue with this blog is because I know that I am absolutely terrible at keeping in touch with people. Given the way that our family tends to move around (God help me), it is an unfortunate character flaw. This blog is a way for my dear friends to know that I'm still alive, I have a life and a brain, and I am conciously updating them on my activities because I do want to keep a relationship going.

I know of my readers, I think, although from the looks of my hi-fi hit counter, I must have some regular readers who are hiding from me. I understand, as a blog lurker myself, that it feels weird to comment on the personal blog of a person that you do not know in real life, but it's also very, very creepy to eavesdrop and not comment once in a while. I have started commenting on the blogs I read secretly, so I request that if you are a regular reader, drop me a little "hello" once in a while!

So all of you creepy lurkers, post a comment! Tell me about yourself. And I promise not to call you creepy ever again!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Self-Psychoanalysis {Via Rock 'n' Roll}

Thanks to Page, who's rad musical taste I mentioned in a previous post, I have discovered the great band System of a Down.

Today, as I was reading about the band on their website, I found a section in which the band members underwent psychological evaluations. (The results for each member are published under the "members" section of the website.) One sentence regarding singer Serj Tankian in particular stood out...

Subject freely drops political jargon ("cooperate Darwinism," "Chomsky-esque") and expresses clear skepticism regarding modes and means of information dissemination, "We see the same thing on every channel," he says. "It's all very devised. It's very filtered.? Well-versed on pressing issues, he's neither apathist nor activist but instead one fascinated by the nature and conclusions of international transactions, policies and ideologies. Awareness and keen knowledge of national or global cause and effect traditionally signifies: a.) sub-conscious desire to avoid examination of the self b.) phobias regarding species extinction c.) revolutionary aspirations (imagined or real) and/or d.) imminent career as college professor.

Now I will be forced to discern to which of these categories I belong. I do have phobic tendencies...hmmm...species extinction?